Violence in the Algerian war of Independence

Terror, counter-terror, and compliance

Authored by: Martin C. Thomas

The Routledge History of Terrorism

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  March  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415535779
eBook ISBN: 9781315719061
Adobe ISBN: 9781317514879


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The French colony of Algeria was agonizingly put together; it was even more agonizingly dissolved. Slow to take shape, slower still to disintegrate, it was always subject to bitter conflict within and between its communities of European settlers and indigenous North Africans. Early decades of military rule shaded into a protracted colonization process that hardened the territory’s inter-communal antagonisms and ensured that colonial Algeria was also steeped in violence. Estimates vary, but some calculate that 825,000 Algerians fell victim to violence during the first forty-five years of colonial conquest after 1830, a figure broadly comparable to the number who succumbed to famine and epidemic disease over the same period. 1 Figures for the number of Algerians who perished during the country’s War of Independence between 1954 and 1962 range from 300,000 to one million within a population then approaching nine million. 2

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